‘End this rampant abuse’: law change plan to stop soring of Tennessee walking horses

A legislation amendment aimed at bringing an end to the “barbaric” practice of soring has been put forward by two US senators.

Mike Crapo and Mark Warner have reintroduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which would amend the 1970 Horse Protection Act, to prevent the abuse of Tennessee walking horses and others in the southeast US.

The aim is to close loopholes that have allowed trainers to take measures such as applying caustic chemicals to horses’ feet, inserting sharp objects into their hooves and using stacked shoes and ankle chains, to produce the exaggerated “big lick” high-stepping gait.

The PAST Act was first introduced in 2013, but has been repeatedly blocked.

A previous proposed amendment, which covered training and licensing of inspectors to enforce the law, and banned chains and large stacked shoes, was put on hold by US president Donald Trump shortly after he came into office.

This has now been dropped but this current proposal goes a step further, by increasing penalties for lawbreakers.

“I support the humane treatment of all animals and the responsible training of horses,” said Mr Crapo. “I remain committed to ending the cruel practice of soring, and will continue to promote enforcement of current animal welfare laws.”

Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, a former president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association, said he “applauded” the senators’ action.

“I’ve seen horses’ feet that have been sored so badly they looked like pizza, and it’s long past time to end the rampant abusive practice of soring that I’ve personally witnessed since childhood,” he added.

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Priscilla Presely, who advocates for animal welfare, said: “There’s no other category of horse show practitioners who do something quite so cruel and diabolical as sore the feet of horses.

 “No lawmaker should look the other way and allow this to continue for one more day.”

For the PAST Act to become law, it would need to pass through the commerce committees in the US House and the Senate, then be allowed a vote on the floor of both chambers, or attached in some way to a larger piece of legislation.

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